Death Row Essay

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On May 23, 1981 in the state of Jacksonville, Florida, Leo Jones was convicted of the murder of a police officer, Thomas Szafranski. The officer was struck in the head by a sniper bullet while sitting in his police car in downtown Jacksonville. Leo Jones was later arrested that same day in a nearby apartment where two Winchester rifles were found and was sentenced to death by electrocution. Only one of the rifles found contained Jones’ fingerprints. Jones did confess to the killing saying he killed the officer because of police beatings, but however he later said that the confession was a lie and that the police forced him to confess and a gun was held to his head. After the arrest Jones was taken to a medical hospital and was treated for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises on his face. A retired police officer of the name Cleveland Smith, came forward and announced that the officer Lynwood Mundy, the same officer who supposedly beat Jones had bragged to Smith that he beat Jones after the arrest. Smith had also said that he had witnessed Mundy receive an confession from a suspect by squeezing his genitals in a firm grip. This evidence can almost prove that Mundy in fact did beat Jones but it was never proved. Jones was not the only one to say that another man had killed the officer, about a dozen other people had also indicated that it was a different man and other witnesses have said they heard the criminal brag that he has shot the officer. The case had sent Jones to death row for sixteen years. Suspicion began to rise as the main witnesses against Jones had recanted, two of the key police officers had left the police department randomly, a... ... middle of paper ... ...tes were “less than reliable and no other evidence supported them. He also ruled that it was only hearsay and that Schofield did not say them immediately after the murder”(Juan Ignacio Bianco). Time ran out for Jones, every piece of clear evidence that came to the table to prove that Jones was innocent was denied and said that it does not clearly prove innocence. “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger,” were the last words that Jones was constantly repeating to his religious advisor El Hajj Rabbanu Muhammad during the preparations for the execution. On March 24, 1998 Jones was executed and the race for Jones’ innocence was officially over. Works Cited Bianco, Juan. "Leo Alexander Jones | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers." Leo Alexander Jones | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

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